A mom in the waiting room.
Watching the clock (tick, tick).
One hour is okay. They said one hour.
2 hours is not okay. 2.5 hours is definitely not okay.
Page the doctor again.
Anxiety. She’s in trouble.
Why can’t it be me instead, this is not the natural order of things.
I’m not okay.
A dad at work.
Looking normal on the outside.
Going through the motions with machines and metal and tools and oil.
Shoving down emotions.
This is life.
She’ll survive, she’s tough.
I’m not okay.
A Doctor in the surgery room.
I explained the procedure.
I told her she’d be fine. No problem.
This is beyond my expertise.
I think of what I would do if it were my mom, my sister on this table.
She’s had too much sedation, she’s been prodded too much.
And I call it.
This situation is not okay.
There’s an RN.
I get to hold this hand like it’s my job.
It is my job, to have compassion, to send love and care through this hand.
To comfort and soothe. To joke. But to know this is serious.
When I tell her she’s okay, I mean it.
I’m here, you’ll be okay.
But am I okay?
A group of friends spread throughout the world.
Connected by Facebook.
They don’t know, because it hasn’t been shared with them.
So they go about their day, wanting to send love but not yet asked to.
Tomorrow there will be infinite “likes” and words of encouragement.
Today they post selfies and motivational memes.
Some are okay, some are not, but their pictures smile.
And a man in a far off land.
That feels a lifetime away.
Normalized in a world of hospitals and needles.
But it’s different when they belong to her.
My heart aches that I am not there.
I want to wrap her up in my arms.
And make sure she knows I’m not a thousand miles away.
That she can lean on me even though I’m not okay.
Camera zooms in on me:
Lying on the hospital bed
It’s cold in my thin open nightgown
They put warm blankets all around me
The RN holds my hand
The Doctor moves into my jugular vein
My mom is in the waiting room with 20 strangers holding her breath
My dad is dissociated with a wrench at work
My friends create their day in the world
And he holds someone else’s hand in a different hospital
And I wonder, is everyone else okay?
The world goes fuzzy black
I feel pressure on my neck
Time looses meaning
Who I was: Glitter toenail polish fading from a month ago in Vegas as I relived my showgirl days
Who I am: Humbled on a cold hospital bed
On the outside: Vitality and beauty
On the inside: Twisted uncooperative veins, weak blood damaged by disease
Outside potential: Relationship, speaking, MedX at Stanford
Inside potential: Internal bleeding, possibilities of eventual transplant
So much potential all around that doesn’t matter in this moment
A steady beep, beep, beep is what counts right now
External projection: She has her shit together, I want to be her
Internal projection: She’s a mess, I feel sorry for her
The silent incongruence that lives between glitter toenail polish and a hospital bed
Stay tuned for next week, where we lather, rinse, and repeat… all the while hoping for a different outcome.
Any experiences resonate? Comment below!